Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Chicago, “Listen”


This practically wrote itself when Jim gave the prompt "Listen/Hear/Talk/Speak."

"Listen" is from Chicago’s first album, called The Chicago Transit Authority, which was the band’s name until the CTA sued to get them to stop. This led to the band changing its name to Chicago, because they reasoned the city wouldn’t sue them. It was the second song of the second side of the first record, about which I wrote a number of years ago, saying that it might be my favorite album side of all time.

The lyrics, courtesy of AZLyrics:

If you think that we’re here for the money
You could be right, you know-ow-ow-ow
But the bread is not too good here
It wasn’t always like that, you know
I said all you got to do is listen

If you don’t hear what you can tell us
If it’s good you can tell us all
Or you can smile, that’s all right my friend
It could be so nice, you know
If only you would listen

Yeah listen
If you don’t understand it, no no no no
You got to try to fly
And don’t you put me down, please
For creating beyond your mind
I said all you got to do is listen

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for March 1, 2020.

30 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Chicago, “Listen”

  1. Last weekend, I watched “Bohemian Rhapsody” and asked my mom if Chicago had a movie about them. Members weren’t as friendly as Queen as you know it was Peter vs. the band (especially in the 80s). But, “Listen” from their first album is from the days of harmony. I always love the horn section in Chicago. I hope to see them one of these days.


    1. Chicago took a huge hit when Terry Kath shot himself (there are several theories about that, one that he intended on committing suicide, another that someone else pulled the trigger, and the official reason, that he did it accidentally). He was the heart and soul of the band. There are a ton of stories about why Peter left, some of which had him quitting, others have the band throwing him out. All I know is that there’s a lot of bitterness there. Chicago has always been kind of private, too: they seem friendly enough, just kind of reserved with the press and wanting to control what gets said about them.

      Have you heard Leonid & Friends? They sound more like Chicago than Chicago these days. Look them up on YouTube…

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  2. This is what I call serious jammin. I have listened to this album many times. Not every song (the experimental stuff, no) but everything else. Tight and fine!


    1. “Free Form Guitar” was just about ten minutes of Terry Kath making noise with a Stratocaster and a beer bottle. It’s kind of fun, because somewhere toward the middle everything stops, and you listen carefully you can hear him laughing before launching back into it. Terry did a lot of jamming on this album: “Poem 58” starts with five minutes of a jam between him, Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine, and “Liberation” starts and ends with the horn players playing the main theme, it’s pretty much Terry. There were rumors that he was getting ready to leave Chicago behind and form a power trio, which would have been something to hear, I think.

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    1. And before that, they were The Big Thing, because they had seven members, which was bvigger than most bands at the time. They didn’t record under that name, of course…

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